Macario set for USWNT debut after FIFA approves eligibility

The 21-year-old signed with Lyon this week and could now make her U.S. debut on Monday against Colombia

FIFA has approved Catarina Macario to represent the U.S. women’s national team in international competition, U.S. Soccer has confirmed.

Macario, who was born in Brazil but moved to the United States at age 12, announced in October that she had become an American citizen and had petitioned FIFA to secure her eligibility for the USWNT.

The governing body has now approved that request, meaning the 21-year-old phenom could make her USWNT debut on Monday in a friendly against Colombia. The U.S. will then face Colombia again in a friendly four days later.

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“I want to thank everyone at U.S. Soccer, past and present, for the opportunity and I sincerely appreciate the literal years of work that went into getting this done,” Macario said in a statement.

“Now that I’m approved to play, it’s up to me to show the coaches I deserve to be on rosters and get playing time.

“Nothing is guaranteed, and everything needs to be earned, so it’s up to me to get my fitness to the level needed and keep learning every day. Just to be in the position is a dream come true and I’ll never take any of it for granted.”

Macario announced on Tuesday that she had signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with European champions Lyon after announcing earlier this month that she would forgo her final year of college at Stanford to turn professional.

The forward opted against signing with the National Women’s Soccer League, where she would have almost certainly been the first overall pick in Wednesday’s draft.

Macario, though, did say later on Tuesday that she is still planning on playing in the NWSL in the future.

“I would love to play in the NWSL one day and I know that will happen,” Macario said to reporters. “I’m not sure necessarily when but obviously as an American it’s my dream to play where I reside and so I’ll definitely be coming back.”

Macario has become one of the most coveted prospects to emerge from the U.S. in recent years, having won the Hermann Trophy as the best collegiate player in the U.S. in back-to-back years.

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